You're about to install an electric fireplace because it boosts the aesthetic of your living spaces. However, since it is electrical dependent, you often wonder if it requires a dedicated circuit to operate effectively. Well, wonder no more! We researched this and shared below what we discovered.
Providing your electric fireplace with a dedicated circuit will always depend on the unit's electrical requirements. Some built-in type electric fireplaces use a variety of heating elements.
For that reason, you must comply with providing the electric fireplace with a dedicated circuit. However, some electric fireplaces will work just by plugging them into the outlet.
There are many underlying factors you must know aside from providing the electric fireplace with a dedicated circuit. The proper breaker wire size, ideal receptacle, and whether the extension cable can handle your electric fireplace are all covered below. So don't miss them, read on!
What Size Circuit Breaker For Electric Fireplace?
You should always install your electric fireplace in line with the circuit breaker size to avoid potential issues during operation. Presently, most electric fireplaces' electrical capacities vary from 120 volts to 240 volts.
Those electric fireplace sizes will need a 15-20 amps circuit breaker to run them properly. The breaker amps are what most technicians would suggest. But it is also good to check your user manual for further specific details.
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Remember, this electrical specification is intended only for your electric fireplace. If you opt to run another appliance in the same circuit, ensure to adjust its amps capacity to support the additional current load.
Ideal Breaker Wire Size
The circuit breaker's overall functionality doesn't only require the panel's proper capacity sizing. Its wiring size must be proportionate to its current load requirements as well.
Mind that, as wire size increases, the current load capacity significantly drops. A 20 amps size breaker will need a 12 gauge wire. This is sufficient to handle your electric fireplace and prevent electrical problems while in operation.
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Can I Just Plug My Electric Fireplace In An Outlet?
Many models of electric fireplaces have a conventional plug since they require an electrical source to operate. You can surely plug the electric fireplace into your home socket as long as it is a standard socket.
Please do not ever try to plug your electric fireplace into an outlet if it's not rated to handle the appliance. Just a reminder of how risky plugging an appliance into an improperly sized outlet is.
Each year about 500 people lose their lives in 51,000 home electrical fire incidents in the U.S. Among many contributors to these terrible incidents is involving receptacles, as much as 5,300 occurrences per year.
Safeguarding your home electrical outlets is one way to avoid fires from arising. Using a GFCI outlet will guarantee your electric fireplace safely operates, as this type of outlet is what experts recommend for every outlet in your home.
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Is It Safe To Plug My Electric Fireplace Into An Extension Cord?
Extension cords also come in different sizes that could work in your electric fireplace. However, attempting to plug your electric fireplace in the extension cord will only increase the fire risk.
This is because the amount of energy that flows through each cord's outlet ultimately overheats and melts the wire. Moreover, most extension cables are recommended for brief uses only.
If there isn't enough electricity source available for your fireplace, using extension cords for a long period may result in your fireplace malfunctioning.
Is The Electric Fireplace Energy Efficient?
As you know, your electric fireplace's energy efficiency will always depend on its size, just like any other appliance. You can find an electric fireplace having a BTU capacity of 5,000 or more, about 7,500 to 10,000 BTU.
Nonetheless, in the U.S., a typical household electric fireplace uses between 1 and 1.5 kWh of electricity per hour. You can expect this to cost you around $0.15 and $0.23 per hour.
Additionally, it circulates the heated air around your space way more efficiently than gas and wood fireplaces. As a result, it reduces its heat loss by 50% compared to the other fireplace setups.
Do I Need To Hardwire My Electric Fireplace?
The proper wiring setting for every fireplace depends as always on its size or BTU capacity. First, what exactly does "hardwired" mean for an electric fireplace? This may be obvious for the user's who have enough electrical knowledge.
However, we think that this is worth mentioning because incorrect wiring setup from your electric fireplace into the circuit can lead to an electrical disaster. This means, your fireplace unit will be directly connected to the breaker.
Furthermore, hardwire is recommended for those bigger in size or more powerful wall-mounted electric fireplaces. In essence, a powerful fireplace unit with 240 V needs to be hardwired to a breaker.
This is reasonable enough, considering it utilizes an immense amount of energy to properly work as it should.
Can I Plug Both My TV And An Electric Fireplace In One Outlet?
The best answer to ensure safety and security is to make a new separate outlet for each appliance. However, TVs are relatively not high to consume energy. Given that its average power usage is only 1.0 amps per hour.
You will be fine plugging them all together as long you're using a standard outlet. As we've talked about earlier, a GFCI type of outlet is the approved outlet for household usage. Essentially, you'll need a GFCI outlet to safely support them.
Since the TV isn't promoting stress in your socket, then it's totally fine putting them in the same socket. Besides, outlets today are rated only to carry two appliances load at once.
Why Does My Electric Fireplace Keep Tripping The Breaker?
Throughout the service life of your electrical fireplace, it's almost impossible to not encounter a breaker tripping issue. There may be chances if the circuit breaker continues to trip even when the fireplace isn't running.
The following are the common causes of why it trips:
- Maybe there is an electrical power outage in your area. Thus the breaker has trouble supporting the fireplace.
- The circuit breaker has already reached its service life and cannot perform its job anymore.
- According to experts, roughly 30-40 years is the average lifespan of the circuit breaker.
- Considering its extreme purpose, this will always wear down sooner than expected.
- Overloaded circuits are the most usual causes of why the electric fireplace trips. As mentioned, adhere to our proper guidelines of how much your socket or circuit breaker can hold to avoid tripping issues.
How Often Should Your Breaker Undergo Maintenance?
The necessity for circuit breaker maintenance is frequently not visible because the breakers may not be exhibiting early failure symptoms. What's more, due to the design of the breaker, which is perfect for an intense workload, maintenance can occur rarely.
Regardless, molded case breakers will need you to evaluate them every year. You should also conduct a regular trip test at least every three to five years.
For the low-voltage type of breakers, it is best to inspect them and subject them to maintenance every one to three years as well. Remember that all of this regular servicing will always depend on the severity of its working condition.
To Wrap Things Up
Ensuring that an electric fireplace is electrically safe by providing it with a breaker will always be a good idea. Throughout this article, we addressed the most common concerns for electric fireplace users.
We shared with you that every electric fireplace has its distinctive electrical requirements, and whether it is necessary to provide a circuit. You also learned that it is not recommended to rely only on an extension cord to run your electric fireplace. We gave you a critical overview of when to conduct maintenance on your circuit breaker.
Just follow all our recommendations and advice to avoid electrical issues while operating your electric fireplace.
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